Allow me to explain.
Kerry is a plus-size model with a super-size secret and she's hidden her curse from every single person in her life, including her best friend Samantha. Just the slightest touch of another human being brings blistering pain and mind-numbing visions and even though she's lived much of her life in the public eye, she's remained isolated.
Adopted into a cold and aloof family, she's never known real love, except for her BFF. Samantha is the only person she can touch without pain or frightening visions. When she touches Sam, all she sees is the image of a wolf.
Kerry has no idea why that's the case...she's just grateful for it.
So let's think about this. If she can't touch anyone without experiencing blood-curdling pain...then it would go to follow that she's never......um...yeah...our heroine is a thirty year old virgin.
A super-hot-amazonian- drop-dead-sexy-virgin.
Until Dante comes along...
Dante Coltari (not a virgin but that's okay...we want a man who knows what he's doing) is an Amoveo from the Fox Clan and he's finally, after years of searching, found his mate. When he realizes his mate is a hybrid, like Samantha, he is fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead.
The Purists, including his own father, want to eliminate all of the hybrids to keep their ancient race of shape-shifters free of human blood. The only thing that keeps Dante from completely losing his mind is her gift of second sight. He figures that since she's already been living outside the human norm, she'll be able to accept her Amoveo heritage with ease. He hangs all of his hopes on the fact that once they are mated all of the pieces will fall into place and she'll be able to better manage her gift.
Dante's company, Inferno Securities, is hired to provide security for Kerry while she's on a photo shoot in New Orleans. He knows that he has to get her to trust him in order to win her heart and keep her safe but that's going to be a challenge. She doesn't fall at his feet and instantly succumb to his charm.
That's a first for him.
There are several firsts for Kerry that go beyond "the first time"...although that's a rather memorable moment. But not in the awkward-teenager-where-do-I-put-stuff kind of way.
The first time he touches her there's the surprising absence of pain, an even more unexpected wave of pleasure and the sole image of a massive fox fills her mind.
There's the first kiss....first caress...first....y'know....
So here's a first look at what's on the pages beneath that gorgeous cover. Seriously, I don't know how the Sourcebooks art department does it. They capture the story so beautifully. Every. Single. Time.
In this scene, Kerry and Dante have just arrived at The Hotel Monteleone and she's getting settled in her room. Her head is spinning. He'd touched her, albeit briefly, on the plane and that mere brush of his thumb sent breathtaking pleasure through her body. Unsure if it was just a fluke, she accepts his hand as she's exiting the car and finds that it's most definitely not a one-time thing.
Something about Dante's touch was blissfully different.
Kerry's got no idea what's going on...the only thing she's sure of is that she wants more.
They rode up to the fourteenth floor in silence, and Kerry found herself feeling awkward and unsure. She felt like a high schoolgirl on a date for the first time. She cringed at her own foolishness. Jeez, what a dork.
The ding of the elevator signified arrival to their floor and broke the silence.
“So why is it called the Tennessee Williams suite?” he asked while they made their way down the corridor.
“All of the suites are named after authors.” Kerry fished the card key out of the paper folder and slid it into the door.
He grunted what must have been his version of saying he understood as he pushed past her into the massive suite. The large living room was well appointed with a sofa and armchairs in varying hues of cream and beige. A dining table loomed largely on the left side of the room with an enormous crystal chandelier dangling overhead. The towering windows were elegantly adorned in floral drapes fringed with tassels.
Kerry closed the door behind them and made her way into the similarly decorated and cavernous bedroom. The king-size bed looked exceptionally welcoming. She shook her head as Dante proceeded to look around every corner and in every closet. He even checked the bathroom, but for what she wasn’t sure. Although it was certainly big enough for someone to hide in, he found nothing, and made his way back to the living room.
“While I’m getting settled here,” she called from the bathroom, “why don’t you go on downstairs and get yourself checked in. I’m sure you’ve managed to get the suite next door,” she mumbled under her breath.
“No. I’ll be staying here,” he said absentmindedly, looking out the window at the bustling street below.
Kerry dropped her makeup bag onto the smooth granite counter and looked at herself in the mirror. “Is he crazy?” she whispered to her own reflection. She stormed into the living room to ask him the same question. “Are you crazy? You’re not staying in my room with me.” Her body trembled with outrage, and as much as she hated to admit it, some excitement. She crossed her arms in an effort to quiet her shaking limbs.
He didn’t even turn around, just continued staring out the damn window.
“I can’t very well protect you while staying in another room at the hotel.” His voice was irritatingly calm. When he finally turned around, she noticed he’d taken off his stupid sunglasses. “I’ll sleep out here on the sofa,” he said, gesturing to it. “Besides, I don’t sleep much anyway. I’m really more of a night creature.” A smile spread slowly across his face as he closed the distance between them. “Don’t worry, princess. You’ll be perfectly safe.”
His hulking frame loomed largely in front of her, and she felt positively tiny. She never felt tiny. Ever. Would every single encounter with this man bring a new sensation? Kerry’s tongue darted out, nervously licking her lips. Her breath caught in her chest, and her heart raced wildly. She brushed that pesky stray lock of hair off her face and struggled to keep her expression neutral.
When Kerry opened her mouth to protest, Dante placed a fingertip on her lips and shook his head slowly. She sucked in her breath, and her body shuddered faintly at the exquisite effect of his touch. Sweet, honeyed warmth radiated from her lips, flickered over skin, and flashed through the rest of her body. Did every woman feel this way when a man touched her? Is this how it’s supposed to be?
God, she hoped so.
Kerry’s eyes fluttered closed as he gently stroked her bottom lip with his thumb, and his fingers brushed her cheek. The vision of the fox floated gently into her mind. Its amber eyes glowed brighter with every featherlight stroke. Exquisite pleasure rippled through her body. Too tired to fight it and exhausted from years of isolation, she allowed herself to give in. Eyes closed, she leaned into his hand and surrendered to the seductive sensations swirling through her.
She didn’t know why he could touch her this way. She didn’t care. All she knew was that she never wanted it to end. As if he’d read her mind, Dante held her face with both hands and stroked her cheeks softly. He tread lightly over the virgin flesh. The rough texture of his fingers against her soft skin created delicious friction.
“You have nothing to fear from me,” he said. The sound of his voice washed over her, enticing and erotic. He leaned in, and his breath blew hotly against her ear. She moaned softly in response, sinking deeper into the sweet honey of his touch. She hung there, blissfully succumbing to it, until one word floated into her mind and ripped her from the soft sensations.
Her body stilled. Her eyes flew open, and she launched herself away from him.
“What the fuck?” she whispered through trembling lips. She backed away blindly and nearly fell over the large armchair. He didn’t move or try to come after her, but kept his expression neutral. Dante stood there as though speaking to her with his mind was a totally normal thing to do.
“Did you just—?” She stammered helplessly and pointed at him accusingly. “Say something, for Christ’s sake! Don’t just stand there looking at me like I’m crazy.”
He stayed stone still. His deep amber eyes stared back at her as he held her in his unrelenting gaze. She stood her ground, hands planted firmly on her hips, waiting for him, daring him to deny it. The silence that pulsed between them seemed almost palpable. She wanted to scream and pound him in the chest, make him tell her she wasn’t crazy—and then she heard it.
***When I was writing Untouched, I had a first of my own. I was completely stuck and my muse wasn't forthcoming (that's not the first...or the last) but when I heard the song Honey on the Skin by Amy Petty....everything just clicked. Amy is a brilliant singer and songwriter. She and her record label have been kind enough to let me use her music for all of the Amoveo book trailers. Here's the trailer for Untouched and it features the song that inspired me.
**Leave a comment on the blog and tomorrow I'll select one commenter at random to receive a signed arc of Untouched!**
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